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Lady Generals making a splash in Central Section

The Shafter High girls swimming team has had an outstanding season so far, thriving in the pool despite having a small team this year in numbers. The squad competed earlier this month in an SSL Powermeet at Taft High School and also competed in the Sierra Pacific Invitational in Hanford.

At the Power Meet, the 200-yard freestyle relay team won the race with a Valley-qualifying time in the process. The relay team is made up of Sydnee Macias, Josephine Martin, Sarah-Jane Osborne and Annemarie Piuser. In Hanford, Sara-Jane was first, and Josephine was second in the Girls 100 yard butterfly event. In the 200 yard Medley, Josephine was third place. They also took third place in the 200 yard freestyle relay.

Although small in numbers, the team has racked up points because of the talented members that are on the team and their outstanding times.

A couple of years ago, the Shafter High Generals football team were known as the Road Warriors, as they had to play all of their games away from home because of the ongoing renovation of their stadium. That was a relatively small concession compared with the Shafter High swim team, which has been on the road for over four years, having no home pool because of the closure of the Shafter Aquatic Center (now under re- construction).

The swimmers have to travel to the Kern High School Aquatic Complex every day for practice, and have to swim all of their meets on the road. The students arrive back home every night around 8 p.m., making it a challenge to keep up with school work, as well as any other activities they may be involved in.

According to Coach Larissa Davis, the absence of a home pool has greatly affected the team. "It is really hard for the kids, with the late nights, and having to be bussed every day into Bakersfield. This has really affected the numbers of swimmers we have now."

But Davis said that they are still thriving, even with all of these challenges. "We might be small in numbers, but we are still competing with the best of them. We still have a great shot at taking the SSL." Davis is hoping with the expected opening of the Shafter Aquatic Center this summer, that the number of students wanting to compete will begin to grow again.

In addition to the relay team, the squad already has several events that they have qualified in for the Valley Championships. Osborne and Martin have already qualified for the Valley meet in six events. But, according to Davis, they will be swimming in two individual events, plus the relay races at the meet.

The team will compete in the SSL Championships at the Kern High Aquatic Complex this weekend, with Taft and Wasco being their toughest competition. They will then travel to Hanford the following weekend to compete in the Central Section Division II Valley Championships.


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